Archivi categoria: faa

Pilot Crashes Drone into Seattle Space Needle, May Face Jail and Fine

A drone pilot crashed his camera drone into Seattle’s iconic Space Needle on New Years Eve, and they may now be facing charges.

Footage of the accident captured by the drone itself was made public this week and quickly went viral. The 3-minute video shows the drone capturing scenic views of the city for a couple of peaceful minutes before unexpectedly flying straight into the upper section of the space needle, where some workers were standing.

CNN reports that police have identified the owner of the drone using its serial number. The FAA began requiring drone owners to register their drones in 2016 for incidents just like this latest one in Seattle.

While Seattle doesn’t currently have any drone ordinances, it’s considering charging the drone owner with reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor which could carry a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

“It looks like the drone tractor beam we installed on the Space Needle is working,” Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart tells CNN. He says it’s the third time Space Needle management has recovered a drone at the famous landmark.

(via CNN via Paleofuture)

US Working on Rules for Flying Drones Over Populated Areas

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The FAA has been scrambling to come up with appropriate rules for multi-rotor camera drones since the flying machines took the world by storm a few years back. And while the first set of proposed rules were revealed a little over a year ago, it seems a US Government committee is already working on a very important update.

For those unfamiliar with the background here, the proposed rules released by the FAA in February of 2015 banned the flying of drones over populated areas except via special exemption. This kind of flying, maintained the FAA, is simply too dangerous to both commercial airlines and the people on the ground below.

However, according to the Associated Press, a US Government-sponsored committee has sent the FAA some recommendations that will change—or at least further clarify—this rule and open up this type of commercial drone use a bit.

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The details were revealed in documents secured by the AP this past week, and they can get a bit convoluted. So here’s a quick, simple, bullet point breakdown.

  • Drones will be classified into 4 categories: (1) Those that weigh less than 0.5 pounds, (2) commercial multi-rotor drones that weigh about 4-5 pounds (but there is no official weight limit), (3) work drones used in closed or restricted sites, and (4) commercial drones allowed to fly over congested areas.
  • The first category has no restrictions, but the drone manufacturer themselves would have to demonstrate through testing that the chance of serious injury is 1 percent or less if the drone hit someone.
  • The second category—this is where most DJI drones and other recreational quadcopters fit—could fly over crowds, but “would have to demonstrate through testing that the chance of a serious injury was 1 percent or less” if the drone fell out of the sky.
  • The third category won’t typically apply to the majority of photographers using drones, but you can read the specifics about those here.
  • The fourth category could have “sustained flights” over crowds, but only after the operator developed a “congested area plan” by working together with the FAA and the community they’ll be flying over. Manufacturers of these drones would have to show there was 30 percent or less chance that a person would be seriously injured if the drone hit them at “the maximum strength impact possible.”
  • Category 2, 3, and 4 drones would always have to fly at least 20 feet above bystanders’ heads

What do these rules mean for photographers and videographers who want to register and use their drones for commercial purposes? It seems that, as long as you could prove your drone meets the safety criteria laid out, you’d have a green light.

Keep in mind that the FAA has no obligation to actually listen to these recommended rules—the final say is theirs and theirs alone. However, since the FAA are the ones who set up this sponsored committee, they probably won’t ignore the recommendations entirely.

(via AP via Engadget)


Image credits: Photographs courtesy of Arnold Reinhold and Don McCullough.